Friday, 27 May 2011

Micro Five - Songs about the Afterlife

No proper top five this week for a number of reasons not least a little too much time getting involved with The Guardian's Readers recommend blog. There's a new topic every Thursday and I've been contributing to various degrees for four weeks now. This week Jon Dennis was looking for songs about the afterlife. I managed five recommendations so figured it would be rude not to reuse them here. An eco-top five if you like.

1. Wilco "Hell Is Chrome" - This is the song that made things click for me and Wilco. Lovely piano intro leads into a song that suggests Hell is not a fiery inferno but somewhere blank and empty of stimulation a void of nothingness. A beautiful song despite the lyrical subject.

When the devil came
He was not red
He was chrome, and he said

Come with me
You must go
So I went
Where everything was clean
So precise and towering

2. The Staples Singers "What Are They Doing (in Heaven Today)" - Surley this is a subject that has to have room for a bit of gospel. The Staples Singers pretty repeatedly ask "What are they doing in Heaven" but don't provide any answers.

3. Venom "Heaven's On Fire" - Taking a very different tack with the Geordie pioneers of the Black Metal genre. They seem a bit tame now and this song which suggests "the pearly gates are ablaze" and "there's nothing you can do" is actually quite catchy. Other contenders from the same band include "To Hell and Back" and "Leave Me In Hell". They knew how to mine a theme for all it was worth!

4. Black Francis "Angels Come To Comfort You" - From the album Bluefinger that pays tribute to Dutch artist Herman Brood. The song seems to be about the artists suicide when he finally "Felt the angels kiss him on the head". It ends with a chrous of angelic Oooooos before the sound of sirens.

5. Jim White "Phone Booth in Heaven" - for which I nominate purely because I like the imagery.

For those who plant nothing but the seeds of the falling
there is a phone booth in heaven that no one is calling.
It sits on a highway that leads nowhere.
I'll drop you a line next time I find myself there

You can trawl through the full list of recommendations here or view the results here. I got my first A-listed song this week. This is exciting in the world of the list fan.

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